The Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women

Lifeway Foods is on a mission do more than just make kefir. As such, we’re proud to announce that this year, Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods, and Edward Smolyansky, CFO of Lifeway Foods, in partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) Chicago, the nation’s leading refugee resettlement agency, will offer the first Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women. The scholarship is created as a gift to honor Julie and Edward’s generous and hardworking mother, Ludmila Smolyansky. It recognizes her drive and can-do spirit, without which Lifeway Foods might not be here today.


According to the Smolyansky family and HIAS, “the scholarship seeks to empower a young woman to find success and passion in her career by encouraging her to explore fields of study where women are typically underrepresented.” The Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women will be awarded to a female student from Russia, the Former Soviet Union or Ukraine who is entering or continuing her Undergraduate studies for the first time in 2015.*

More About Ludmila Smolyansky


With the assistance of the HIAS, Ludmila Smolyansky came to the United States in 1976 with her husband and her infant daughter in tow. Although she initially had no family, friends or money, in just a few years she built her own thriving international business, consisting of a restaurant and importing company in Skokie, IL. A pioneer foodie, her innate knack for business was instrumental in the Lifeway’s financing, early distribution wins and overall success. She now serves as Chairwoman of the Board for Lifeway Foods and acts as a strategic advisor to the CEO and CFO.

*For more information about applying for the scholarship, including eligibility and timelines, visit